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How Intelligent Are Ferrets? Everything You Should Know

Ferret headshot on grass

When you play with a ferret, it’s plain to see just how interactive they are with people. They have super social natures, playing, running, jumping, and getting into all sorts of trouble with playmates and people alike.

But just how smart are they? Studies say they can give your dogs and cats a run for their money. So what are the details of how the rank? Let’s dig in.


How Smart Are Ferrets?

ferret eating crumbs from the ground
Image Credit: Isoman72, Pixabay

Ferrets are brilliant creatures with excellent problem-solving skills. They can quickly figure out concepts with little effort, impressing researchers. While they might not fall on the top 10 most intelligent animals on earth, they are still exceptional pets with big personalities.

If you’ve ever met a ferret before, you know just how interactive they are. It’s like they are drawn to people, even to strangers. Ferrets are playful, inquisitive, and fun-loving, so it should come as no surprise you have a little weaselly genius on your hands.

How Do They Rank?

When experts test an animal’s intelligence, they usually go on a few different categories.

It looks a little something like this:
  • Problem-Solving: ferrets have terrific problem-solving skills. They use their ability to quickly and efficiently navigate through mazes and other challenging restrictions.
  • Memory Retention: ferrets have pretty impressive memory retention, ranking between dogs and cats.
  • Communication: ferrets tend to express their emotions in theatrical ways. Their expressions reflect their mood, allowing humans to pick up easily on how they’re feeling.

They also use a series of clicks, hisses, and other vocalizations to get their point across.

Are Ferrets Trainable?

ferret-ready for bath-pixabay
Image Credit: Sir_Tommy, Pixabay

One common misconception about ferrets is that they are not trainable. That is absolutely not true. You can train a ferret the same way you can train a dog or within reason, of course. However, they learn in their own language.

You can train your ferrets to use a litter box. Most of the time, pet shops will keep litter boxes in the container with the ferret. So the chances that they’re already litter trained are pretty high in many cases.

You can also train your ferrets to do all kinds of fun tricks.

Ferret Tricks

Ferret in the field
Image Credit: christels, Pixabay

So, did you know that you can train your ferret to learn lots of interesting tricks?

Since your ferret is just as smart, you can take a few minutes out of your day to teach them a thing or two. There are plenty of tutorials, or you can find a method that works best with your ferret at home.

Do Ferrets Bond with People?

Ferrets are remarkably social creatures who are quite capable of bonding with owners. The more time you spend with them, the more they get used to your voice, scent, and spirit. You can form a strong connection easily with one or multiple ferrets.

As far as smaller caged pets are concerned, ferrets are ranked among the most social of all. However, because of their inclination to play rough, they work best with older children above six years of age.

See Also: Do Ferrets Like to Cuddle? Everything You Need To Know!

holding ferret III_Peryn22_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Peryn22, Shutterstock

Ferrets & Destruction

Their intelligence might not always work in your favor. Ferrets, like many other small pets, are notorious chewers and diggers. They can do some serious damage to your trim, carpets, and furniture. Since these behaviors are expected, you just have to monitor your ferret while they’re out.

There’s really no way to “untrain” this impulse. To avoid any type of destructive tendencies or unplanned escapes, you should ferret-proof your home and never let your pet freely roam for extended periods unsupervised.



If you have a ferret and know there’s much more going on upstairs than first meets the eye – you are right. These creatures rank close to dogs and cats, showing promising brainpower.

Of course, that can make them somewhat mischievous, getting into all sorts of trouble. But they are very bonded with owners and other pets, making them perfect additions to just about any home – permitting you can protect your assets.

Related Read: Do Ferrets Hibernate? What is Dead Sleep?

Featured Image Credit: christels, pixabay

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